A dress used by Judy Garland in 1939 for her role as Dorothy was removed from auction after a judge decision


One of the blue-and-white checked gingham dresses Judy Garland wore in 1939 for her role as Dorothy was set to be part of an auction of Hollywood memorabilia in Los Angeles on Tuesday. It was put for sale by Catholic University of America. Auctioneer Bonhams listed a presale estimate of $800,000 to $1.2 million. However, the dress was not auctioned. The piece was owned time ago by Father Gilbert Hartke, who worked at the university and was given the dress in 1973. He died in 1986. Now, a niece, Barbara Ann Hartke, 81, a retired school teacher, filed a lawsuit against the school and the auctioneer this month, saying the dress belongs to her and was received as a gift from actress Mercedes McCambridge. Fact is there is no documentation demonstrating decedent ever formally or informally donated the dress to Catholic University. U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe in Manhattan granted a motion for a preliminary injunction and stopped the auction. Gardephe said that he was prohibiting “any sale or transfer of the dress pending the outcome of this litigation.”


In a statement, lawyers for the university said, “We look forward to presenting our position, and the overwhelming evidence contradicting Ms. Hartke’s claim, to the court in the course of this litigation.” The dress was worn in the scene when Dorothy was captured at the Wicked Witch of the West’s castle.